In many cases, deafness can have a significant impact on a person’s well-being, from obvious primary challenges like, well, not being able to hear, to no-less-important secondary issues like resulting social isolation.
In recent years, a number of increasingly high-quality hearing aids have helped resolve some of these issues, but a new research project coming out of Indiana University School of Medicine may have the biggest impact yet.
What professor Karl Koehler and his team have been working on is a method to grow human inner ear organs from stem cells.
“Human stem cells have the potential to form any organ in the body, but they require special guidance cues at the right time to form a specific organ, like the inner ear,” Koehler told Digital Trends. “After about three years of careful trial and error, we came up with a ‘cue recipe’ that tells stem cells to form inner ear organ-like structures. …